Put yourself in my place, as my hands hovered over the computer keyboard. I was writing my first contact to an editor. Do you know how long I spent checking my email to her? She wielded a red pen for a living, and I was terrified of spelling something wrong or of making a grammar error.
But my experience with Elisabeth was completely unexpected.
We set up a Skype meeting, and I talked with this woman who was living on the outskirts of Jerusalem at the time. (Did that make me cool? To have an editor who lived outside of Jersualem? I thought yes.) We chatted and enjoyed getting to know each other. I felt a little more relaxed when we hung up.
Then I waited. She had my document in hand and was working on it. Checking my email for the first edits became a miserable routine.
One day, there was my document in my inbox.
In a great show of courage, I clicked open the document and hit “enable editing”. Scrolling through the first chapter of my book, I saw highlights in the document, with comments to the side.
In a minute, I’m going to give you a list about what I learned through the editing experience, but first I want you to know that I absolutely love my editor. I begged her to be my editor forever and considered putting her on retainer. Elisabeth edited one book for me and then began on my second. Because of circumstances in her life, the editing was delayed, so the publisher asked if I wanted to find another editor or wait for Elisabeth. I responded with 167 exclamation marks that it was Elisabeth or nobody.
What My Editor Taught Me about the Work of God
- My editor is a person, not a red pen. We worked on two of my books together, but in the end we shared a hope that someday we would get to sit across a table from each other and share a cup of coffee.
- My editor worked to fix my mistakes and to help me communicate more clearly, but she didn’t try to change the essence of my writing. She appreciated who I was and my unique writing voice.
- My editor was picky, and I valued that. I wanted to publish a perfect document, and she wanted me to publish a perfect document. Sometimes she sent the same paragraph to me three or four times, until we were both satisfied.
- My editor sprinkled kind, encouraging comments throughout the document. “I loved how you said this,” she would say. It took the edge off the corrections I had to make. She gave me hope that my book, as a whole, was good.
- My editor did a ton of work. There was a button in the editing program that said, “Accept Changes.” I would hit that, and most of the little changes she had suggested would be implemented automatically. I still had work to do on the document, but she carried the weight of it. It was awesome.
Blameless is the name of the book Elisabeth worked on for me, and it’s a book about God’s editing process in our lives. We have a relationship with him, and he cares about perfection in the way we want him to care. He works to change us into the flawless person we’ve always hoped to be. We do some of the work, but he does most of it. It is an incredible partnership he invites us into, as we put our faith in his Son, Jesus.
I am the LORD, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight. (Jeremiah 9:24 NIV)
So relax, will you? Don’t be nervous to know this God who has the red pen, because the pen is attached to a very, very kind hand.
And may I ask, what is the Lord “editing” in your soul these days?